Despite that ugly headline, there was actually some good news for Atlanta in the S&P/Case-Shiller press release this morning.
First, the bad news:
April’s data indicate that on an annual basis home prices fell by 2.2% for the 10-City Composite and by 1.9% for the 20-City Composites, versus April 2011. While still negative, this is an improvement over the annual rates of -2.9% and -2.6% recorded for the month of March 2012. Both Composites and 18 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in April compared to those published for March; only Detroit and New York fared worse in April, posting annual returns of +1.2% and -3.8% respectively, falling below their March returns of +3.9% and -3.0%. For the seventh consecutive month, Atlanta posted the only double digit negative annual return at -17.0%, its 22nd consecutive month of negative annual returns.
The good news is buried a little deeper in the numbers. Case-Shiller is a 3-month composite index, so this data includes sales from February, March, and April (with contracts signed even earlier). Atlanta saw a monthly decline from February to March of -0.3 percent seasonally adjusted and -0.9 percent not seasonally adjusted. But prices increased from March to April: +0.8 percent seasonally adjusted and +2.3 percent not seasonally adjusted. It seems quite likely that the data could show stable or climbing prices through the summer.
Case-Shiller uses the not seasonally adjusted data for its headline numbers, but it’s always worth looking at the seasonally adjusted data since home prices follow some clear seasonal trends.
The Atlanta metro area’s seasonally adjusted Case-Shiller index is currently at a level first reached in fall 1997.
What are you people doing up there?
And Happy Birthday to Charlie.